On Sunday morning we will be looking at Matthew 21:1-11. Although it is the week's lectionary passage of the palms for the week, it is one of the lesser used entry stories. It offers a remarkable picture that contrasts the humble entry of Jesus with the ever present symbols of brute force power displayed by Roman occupiers. While we do not encounter the picture of Roman soldiers walking our streets, the unadulterated images of power are unmistakable. You can see it in the dramatic corporate logos that declare their presence outside of dramatic structural facades. You can see it in the strident walk of community leaders forever attached to their blackberries. You can see it in the hallways of the capital where state senators and representatives huddle in the small clusters quietly negotiating bills that will impact the daily lives of their citizens. It seems that quest and exercise of power is at the heartbeat of our culture and the humility of Christ seems strangely out of step.
As we begin our journey toward the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter morning, which vision of power will we claim? Will we be drawn in by the cries of culture or touched by the vision of the Son of God coming in on a simple donkey? Will we be moved by the cheers of the crowd or shaped by the humility of the one named Jesus?
The passage will challenge our cultural presuppositions and call us to begin our Holy Week walk with a changed approach to life and faith. It will demand that we rethink our understanding of power and invite us to claim a more humble way. It will not be easy because it is countercultural. But, it is a way that will draw us to be more like Jesus.
May we join a parade of humility.
Grace and Peace, Tom